The Coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered the lives of almost everyone in the country, but small business is being particularly decimated. Mandatory lockdowns, social distancing, and overall panic mean that some small businesses have seen their sales drop by as much as 90 percent. There are ways that you can help your local small business during this crisis so that they can still operate after this is over.
If your favorite small business sells online, you can support them by placing your orders through the Web. This works well for small retailers, who often depend on their Web sales to support their brick and mortar operations. Ordering online not only means that you can still enjoy the products you love, but the business can retain some of its employees to pack and ship orders. Buying gift cards that you can use to shop later is also helpful. Many stores are offering discounted gift cards as a way to keep people shopping during this pandemic. Buying a gift card is an excellent way to both shop now and later.
Order Take Out
Restaurants are especially vulnerable during this crisis. People started avoiding restaurants when the first Coronavirus cases started appearing in the country. Now with mandatory restrictions on dine-in restaurants, many businesses depend solely on take out orders to stay in operation. Some restaurants which are forced to close are selling off the perishable food items that they will no longer be able to sell to the public. Contact your local restaurants and find out if they are offering take-out and delivery, or offer to buy their unused perishables.
Keep Paying Your Service Workers
If you have a regular house cleaner, dog walker, babysitter or maintenance person, consider paying them a portion of what you normally pay them during the pandemic. Some people are paying a regular salary with the expectation that the workers will make up the work when the pandemic is over. If you know of someone who could still use their services during the outbreak, refer them. This is the time to help keep these service people working so that they will still be able to operate when this is over.
Leave Good Reviews
Most people who patronize a business never leave a review, good or bad. This is the time to start leaving good reviews for your favorite businesses. Flood their social media pages with positive messages and in-depth reviews of their products and services. Not only will you be helping their sales, but you will also be boosting their morale at a bleak time for many small businesses.
With the majority of Americans confined to their homes, there is an influx of demand for food delivery. These delivery drivers are especially at risk for contracting the virus due to their daily interactions with a range of people. They operate on thin margins as the delivery apps often take a portion of their revenue as fees. Tip them generously to help them during this time. If you do order food, make sure you are available when they arrive so they don’t have to spend additional time at your home waiting to hand you your food. Consider allowing them to leave the food on the porch instead of interacting with you directly. This protects both you and the delivery person.
Hire Teachers, Tutors and Instructors
Schools are closed and that means that someone has to deliver lessons to the millions of school children who can’t attend class in-person. This is the time to hire local tutors and independent teachers who can deliver lessons and help with challenging subjects. In addition, there are local fitness clubs that are offering virtual classes and workouts. Fitness centers were particularly hard hit, as social distancing and germ avoidance is challenging in this environment.
Tackle Home Improvement Projects
This is the time to start working on the lawn, fixing things around the house and getting your car back in working order. Your landscaper doesn’t need close interaction with you to cut the grass, and the handyman can work on outside projects. There are mobile mechanics who will come to you, so take advantage of these services and support small business owners who might otherwise be out of work.
Ask for Remote Services
Your tax accountant, financial planner, attorney and insurance salesperson may all work remotely. Ask them if they can still provide the same services from their homes. This is the time to start reviewing your estate plans, wills and financial plans. These small, independent businesses are especially vulnerable so talk to them about how you can support them during this time.
Small businesses are taking a huge hit in the wake of this unprecedented virus. Many will close their doors, never to re-open. Support your favorite small business by buying online, shopping locally and helping them to stay open for the long haul.